Darren Kennedy: 'My home is bright, colourful and eclectic'

The broadcaster shares what he loves about life and his living space — and reveals the quick and easy way to transform a room
Darren Kennedy: 'My home is bright, colourful and eclectic'

Home for Darren Kennedy is Dublin but he describes himself as 'a little bit nomadic'.

What is your favourite spot at home?

Sitting on my sofa with lots of natural daylight seeping in all over me and just taking in the colour and the vantage point of my little oasis of plants that I absolutely adore. My plants bring so much joy and tranquillity to my home.

Where is home?

I’m a little bit nomadic, but I guess my roots and my home are in Dublin — although home is where good people are, I think.

How would you describe your home?

My home is bright and colourful and quite eclectic. I like to display things that are important to me and that I like the look of so that could be a pair of trainers that I’ll put on display, a book, or little trinkets and items from my travels. At the same time, I like to keep clean lines so it doesn’t feel too cluttered.

Best bargain ever for you?

At the moment it would probably be a little drinks trolley I got in Penneys — it was great value and it looks fab!

Biggest extravagance at home?

My biggest extravagances [in terms of spending] at home probably go on coffee, like good coffee machines because I absolutely adore coffee. I do think investing in a good machine will save you money in the long run as opposed to getting takeaway coffees all the time (which I still do sometimes as well).

I also believe in investing in a good sofa: I’ve got a grey fabric L-shaped Natuzzi sofa which I adore, it’s so comfortable because let’s face it, we spend a lot of time sitting on the sofa.

Favourite household chore?

It’s not necessarily my favourite household chore, but I do like hoovering, getting the Dyson out and clearing up. 

I like seeing the dust and particles in the apparatus itself. 

I also love when the bathroom is sparkling clean — but I don’t quite enjoy the process of cleaning it!

Least favourite task?

Cleaning the shower.

Are you a DIY whizz?

I am the opposite of a DIY whizz, I am useless! I will often call in my sister who is actually great, she’s the whizz and she’ll do those DIY tasks that need to be done.

Fridge must-have?

Well, I have two. The first is dark chocolate with a little bit of spice thrown in there — or any chocolate as the case may be.

The second is tonic water, I always have fresh tonic water in the fridge.

David Attenborough would make it on to Darren's guest list. Picture: BBC
David Attenborough would make it on to Darren's guest list. Picture: BBC

Do you enjoy cooking and what’s your signature dish?

I do enjoy cooking occasionally. I don’t get a massive opportunity to do it with the amount of travel I do for work. My signature dish would be curry or a chilli con carne which I learned to make from my mother’s recipe — so Mexican or Thai, that’s definitely my vibe.

Kylie Minogue would be a dream dinner party guest.
Kylie Minogue would be a dream dinner party guest.

Who would be your ideal dinner-party guests?

I have thought about this a lot: My ideal dinner guests would be my late granny Lily McGuire, Tom Ford, Opera Winfrey, David Attenborough and maybe Kylie or Madonna? Just for a bit of sparkle!

What is the best advice you got at home as a child?

The best advice I got at home growing up with regard to interiors was probably from my mother, she has a wonderful eye for style and aesthetics and she had a great knack for making a space feel completely renewed and refreshed.

She would do this purely by changing around the furniture and the soft furnishings.

Something I used to relish when I was growing up was, about three times a year, myself and my mam would set about rearranging the furniture in the living room and it felt like a completely new space — the energy was always renewed.

What household/interiors advice would you like to give others?

There seems to be this trend at the moment where people feel that their home has to be picture-perfect the moment they move in. Two things there, firstly I don’t think a home ever needs to be picture-perfect, I think it should look like a home and feel like your space and be a reflection of that.

Secondly, a home is something that you grow into, it’s not like a cookie-cutter, click-your-fingers-and-it’s-all-done type of thing. I think that’s how you make your home or your space really personal — over time you decorate it completely and have those finishing touches, that’s when it begins to feel really special.

Favourite-ever project?

My favourite projects vary. I did a travel series on Channel 5 in the UK a couple of years ago and I really, really loved every moment of that. Getting the chance to travel and explore the world for my job was incredible. I also loved taking part in [RTÉ One’s ] Dancing with the Stars — that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I probably underestimated before I did it on so many levels but it was so rewarding.

I have also done a couple of property shows which I always really enjoy because I love getting inside people’s homes and of course, my documentaries Gay Daddy and Like a Virgin because they were really personal which is a different type of beast but something I enjoy.

What do you believe is the one most important factor in creating a sustainable home?

When it comes to creating a sustainable home, I think we can sometimes underestimate the small steps that we can take. So, things like getting a hive system installed, something which I’ve had installed for a couple of years now, to help regulate the temperature in your home.

The Hive system is also a smart device that’s linked to certain plugs and lightbulbs and these are all things that can really help to reduce my electricity consumption in my home and make it smarter.

Even reducing your temperature by one degree can make a huge difference over a long period of time.

What’s on your to-do list for the year ahead?

How long have you got? No, really: I think it’s just to continue exploring the world and working with people that are the best at what they do and enjoy what they do. I really just want to continue to have joy in every single day — I mean, that is top of the list, so whatever that looks like I’m here for it.

What would your superpower be?

I’d love to be able to fly or control the weather, a little bit like Storm from the X-Men.

'What keeps me awake at night? Probably my to-do list,' says Darren.
'What keeps me awake at night? Probably my to-do list,' says Darren.

How do you unwind?

I love to unwind simply by listening to music and just switching off. Some favourite soundtracks include bands like Future Islands. I also love hanging out with friends and family, particularly my nieces and nephews — there’s nothing like young kids wanting your attention to distract you from everything else which is always such a joy.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

I’d love to say someone like Ryan Gosling, and I only say that because I watched an interview with him recently and he’s great, he’s so fun and has such a great sense of humour. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and he’s a great actor as well.

What keeps you awake at night?

Probably my to-do list, like if I have things hanging over me or I am procrastinating a bit, that will keep me up at night. Also the fear of missing a flight especially if I have an early flight.

Darren Kennedy talks to architect Amanda Bone on the 'Imagine A Better' way series.
Darren Kennedy talks to architect Amanda Bone on the 'Imagine A Better' way series.

What are you up to at the moment?

Right now I am hosting the "Imagine A Better Way" series from Bord Gais Energy. The series is filled with loads of interviews with industry experts on all things retrofitting and home energy upgrades and provides hints, tips, and tricks on how to make your home more energy efficient and in turn, save you some money. You can watch the entire series on YouTube or at Bordgaisenergy.ie.

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